Earlier this year, South Tyneside estate agent, Browns Letting Agency, revealed plans to relocate from their Westoe office to a building that housed the former Workwear and Schoolwear Company business.
Plans include converting part of the Dean Road building into an office and opening a cafe/bistro potentially employing 15 full and part-time staff.
Today, South Tyneside Council’s planning committee approved the plans which had previously been on hold over noise concerns.
In an original council consultation, 23 objections were received from 19 neighbouring properties with concerns including 11pm closing hours and parking.
At a previous planning meeting in April, the application was also deferred over concerns a cooking odour extraction system would affect neighbours.
After receiving more details on the ventilation system from the applicant, councillors voted in favour of the plans.
Coun Eileen Leask noted the application was from a “reputable business” and said there was a need for such venues in the area.
However, Coun Anne Hetherington raised concerns about opening times for the business.
“This is a family cafe, I can’t see why it’s necessary for it to be open until 11pm,” she said.
Coun Gladys Hobson added: “There is no reason and no grounds for us as a planning committee to refuse this under planning law.
“If we do refuse this I’m sure an appeal will be lodged and the applicant will win the appeal.”
Browns Letting Agency co-owner, Kerry Brown, previously stated the bistro would help provide an “upmarket city centre ambience” in the area.
The aim, she added, is to encourage people to stay in South Tyneside rather than travel to Newcastle for entertainment.
The planning decision means the new bistro can open from 7.30am-11pm, Monday to Saturday and 8.30am-11pm on Sunday.
To sell alcohol, the applicant must apply for a licence from South Tyneside Council which could change opening hours or impose conditions that the alcohol can only be served with food.
If the business wanted to run the premises as a pub or wine bar in future, further planning permission would needed for a ‘Class A4 Drinking Establishment”.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service